MEUW focusing on helping municipal electric utilities to speak with “one voice” in pandemic response: The pace of change and volume of information in this public health crisis is astounding, and it can be challenging to keep up with all that is happening. MEUW is diligently monitoring legislative and regulatory activity related to the pandemic. We’ve been engaged with staff at the Public Service Commission to provide timely updates to MEUW members. We are also working with our joint-action agency partners and other state trade associations to coordinate our actions and information sharing. In an effort to further streamline communications, we’re asking MEUW members to funnel questions and issues directly to MEUW Executive Director Tim Heinrich so that we can be coordinated in our response. Likewise, the staff at the PSC will be relying more heavily on MEUW to share information directly with municipal electric utilities.
COVID-19 impacts MEUW programs and events: As previously communicated, in light of the public health crisis, MEUW is evaluating all near-term MEUW training workshops and member events. Here are the specifics:
- The Underground Facility Locating Workshop (April 14) and the Excavation Competent Person Workshop (April 16) are postponed and will be rescheduled.
- The “Meet & Eat” gathering in Black River Falls (April 14) is cancelled.
- MEUW’s Leadership Academy kick-off session on the topic of collaboration (April 22) is postponed and will be rescheduled.
- The Underground Distribution School (April 28-29) is postponed; options to reschedule are being evaluated.
- All of the scheduled Customer Service Roundtable sessions are cancelled. In lieu of rescheduling these gatherings, members are encouraged to save the date for the 2020 Accounting and Customer Service Seminar, currently scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22, in Wisconsin Dells.
- Flaggers Training Courses planned in Waunakee (April 13), Richland Center (April 14) and Medford (May 5) are being evaluated and may be conducted as webinar sessions; more details will be communicated as planned are finalized.
- MEUW’s 91st Annual Conference (May 13-15) will be rescheduled to a new date; this includes the planned golf outing. In accordance with the association’s Bylaws, the Annual Meeting will be held as scheduled on Friday, May 15, at 8:30 a.m., as a teleconference.
MEUW will be communicating directly with those who have already registered for upcoming events. For workshops being postponed and rescheduled, we plan to apply credit toward future training sessions in lieu of providing refunds.
Association providing resources to help members respond to coronavirus pandemic: MEUW is focused on providing timely, accurate information to our members, especially as the response to COVID-19 continues to evolve. We are providing regular updates and adding new information on our Website, where you can find links to resources and relevant materials. The most recent addition is a set of frequently asked questions provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Essential” workers urged to carry appropriate identification: Municipal utility workers are among those considered “essential” as part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Accordingly, they are exempted from many of the guidelines in place during the COVID-19 public health crisis. If requested, utility workers should be prepared to show proper identification to validate their employment and role as an “essential” part of the workforce.
Deadline for MEUW Honors and Awards nominations is March 31: Annually, the association proudly recognizes individual contributions and achievements toward advancing public power by presenting awards at the Annual Conference. We are currently accepting nominations in a number of categories. Full details are available at MEUW.org/awards. To nominate someone, please complete the nomination form and submit it by Tuesday, March 31. Nominations received by the deadline that meet specific criteria will be reviewed by the Awards Committee.
Nomination period for MEUW Board of Directors now open: MEUW is currently accepting nominations for interested individuals to serve on the association’s Board of Directors for a two-year term beginning May 15, 2020. This year’s election will be for Directors and Alternate Directors in even-numbered districts. The Nomination Form and additional information is available here. The deadline to nominate someone is Friday, April 17.
Keep yourself “safe and sane” during the pandemic: As the public health crisis evolves from days into weeks and into months, it will be increasingly important to be mindful of the impact of “social distancing” on our everyday mental health. This article from the National Safety Council offers some practical tips to make the most of these unprecedented times.